Rain Pryor: 'I honor Daddy by being myself'

Posted at 11:44 AM, Sep 10, 2015

Rain Pryor, daughter of the legendary comedian Richard Pryor, has forged a career that spans stage, TV and film, as well as an autobiography (“Jokes My Father Never Taught Me”), fund-raising for multiple sclerosis research, directing, producing, singing and stand-up comedy.

Pryor will headline a show featuring local comics Ally Bruener, Kelly Collette, Teri Foltz, Kristen Lundberg and Ky Platt at the Carnegie in Covington on Thursday night, before the Cincinnati Film Festival’s opening-night screening of “That Daughter's Crazy,” a documentary about Pryor’s life and career.

Before boarding a plane to Cincinnati, she answered questions about comedy, life and her famous father. For a comedienne, is there a difference between female and male audiences? Do they laugh at the same things?

Pryor: Depending on the ratio of male to female and one's jokes, it (varies) who laughs at what. My jokes aren't just female-based, although it's the perspective from a female mind. How do you handle hecklers?

Pryor: We all have a comeback line. I have only once been heckled bad enough by an audience of bigots that I had to leave the stage. It was my last show of three. The first two met with cheers -- same set, just a bigoted, mostly white male crowd. It’s hard to do racial material in that circumstance. I cried, then laughed my butt off later. Is it easier to be funny when you are happy or when you are mad?

Pryor: I am a happy comic. Maybe that's why I'm not famous. I love my life. Is it easier to be funny on stage or on paper?

Pryor: I think many comics think what they write is funny, until they get it on stage. Sometimes, it's in the delivery. I tend to go to the edge racially. I can make you uncomfortable and until you notice, you can laugh. Political correctness ruined the comic. Well, kind of. Writing vs. performing -- if you could only do one for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

Pryor: Can't really answer that. You can't perform without a writer, and in stand-up I prefer to write. But I also love acting and being a performer. You are an actress, author, director, producer, musician, public speaker, anti-drug-abuse educator and advocate for MS research. Is there anything left on your lifetime to-do list?

Pryor: I've also been an ice cream tester, stop-sign holder and now mother. The best job is mom. I stopped counseling addicts years ago when I realized I don't like being on the Titanic of another person's life. What is the funniest joke you ever told?

Pryor: I don't think I have one yet -- still new in the game. What is the funniest joke your father ever told?

Pryor: I like the one I do in my documentary about shooting the car. It's so timely, even today. You’re good friends with comedienne Kelly Carlin, who also is the offspring of a comedy giant. Have either of you ever considered changing your last names, or do you consider your heritage as gifts?

Pryor: I never thought of it, and I don't think Kel has either. We are not ashamed of our fathers; we are just a part of them. I honor Daddy by being myself. Although when I marry again, I will take my husband's last name, because it will be the last time I get married.

A Night With Rain
The Carnegie, 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington
6 p.m. Thursday: VIP Meet and Greet
7:30 p.m. Thursday: Comedy show
9 p.m. Thursday: Screening of “That Daughter’s Crazy,” directed by Daryl Sledge. Q&A with Pryor and Sledge follows the film.
Tickets: $15-$40 via the Carnegie box office,
Information: 859-491-2030,